Reflecting on a Pandemic from the front line

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Reflecting on coronavirus is a pastime for many people. Now the government have dedicated a day to it.

What is the National Day of Reflection?

March 23rd is a National Day of Reflection on the Pandemic for the bereaved, for the victims, and I hope, for those who sacrificed months of their lives.

I was one of those front line staff for much of it. Care home management is difficult – during a pandemic it is nigh on impossible. I was deputy manager. I was already stressed before the unthinkable hit.

What do I reflect upon?

The exhaustion etched on the faces of colleagues as they gave more and more to the elderly people in their care. The strength as they fended off the concerns of their own families. The fear as they looked at their own parents and children and wondered each day if they had brought them a death sentence. And I often reflect upon their exasperated  pain as they were branded as cruel and inhuman by a media who jumped on the wrong bandwagon.

Claims that elderly people were locked away in their rooms, caged like animals were probably correct; because we were TOLD we had to! It was not the home’s choice. Were the residents neglected…left to die…ignored…starved…NO! We did our best to stay and chat from behind the masks and aprons. Yet still we stood accused of not caring.

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This is a test post

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I decided to write a test post – test posts and test pages are important

Posts and pages are very confusing if you are not entirely sure what the differences are.

I need to publish this so that I can see where it posts to. Ah…I yearn for the days when pen and paper sufficed. But then, no-one got to read my weird and wonderful rants. Those were the days hey?

Mountain high

Mountains are unintentionally  inspirational

Having spent time sitting contemplating the sheer magnificence of mountains, I was left wondering what it is about them that draws mankind towards them in worship.  

Why do we feel the need to draw and paint them, to write poetry and songs proclaiming their beauty and awe-filled majesty. Why do we struggle up the ascents simply to slide down again? 

Unintentionally Inspirational

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I didn’t… ?

Writing lines that will never be read, 
Words tumbling and jostling around in my head,
A lyric named "what I wish I had said - but I didn't."
Hearing a song that no one will sing,
That elusive tune only silence can bring, 
Wishing I'd sung it like a bird on the wing - but I didn't.
Binding a book whose leaves won't be turned, 
A story of flying but my feathers got burned,
I should have grown from the lessons I learned - but I didn't. 
Painting my life but the bristles have dried, 
Safe behind a blank canvas I hide,
Should I have risked some colour before my dreams all died? 
Seems I didn't.
Could have told others my story but why would they care
So I've left it all shrouded, only I was there,
Could have put it on Facebook for a like and a share - 
But I didn't.
I sang like a bird alone on a cloud,
I read that book but never out loud.
Could have shared my painting with the everyday crowd.
But I didn't . 

Parys Mountain

Parys Mountain in Anglesey, Wales. The remains of a mountain whose innards contained minerals and metals mankind wanted. Her inner beauty lies exposed to the elements.

Overly romantic? Yeah, I know! What can I tell you…I’m a poet!

Parys Mountain Anglesey
 She stood, proud against the sea blown gales, her heart forged in the melting pot of a chaotic planet. 
The Mountain.
She held secrets, secrets given to her as the world was formed around her.
Secrets which rose her head high above the land.
Secrets she held inside throughout time, holding them close, guarding them as a mother swaddling her firstborn.
Until they came!
Until a man dug into her skin and, in that first cut, exposed her riches, her beauty, her secret.
She proudly proclaimed "See my wondrous colours! Marvel at my body!"
Oh they saw!
Then they came...
They came in their hundreds. Swarming! Smashing! Destroying!
Taking her apart, rock by coloured rock,
Digging, boring, scraping, taking - taking - taking.
Even as she died, her arteries were alive with the industry of her murderers.
Her veins throbbing as they dug and carried her away,
Until only a great chasm remained where her heart had been,
And she was drawn and quartered for the crime of containing what men wanted.
Then sated, they left.
And she died again - for they took their beating hearts along with hers.
They took their lifeblood along with hers
And left her with nothing bar scars,
For on her exposed belly, little would grow, little could live.
They left her with nothing save the secret which had killed her,
The beauty a macabre autumnal shroud - her colours shouting their agony in silence,
Screaming their anger voicelessly in the wind.
Yet justice will not be hers,
For she is no more.


Having spent time sitting contemplating the sheer magnificence of mountains, I was left wondering what it is about them that calls mankind towards them in worship.  Why do we feel the need to draw and paint them, to write poetry and songs proclaiming their magnificence. Why do we struggle up the ascents simply to slide down again? These geological accidents, caused by chaos and upheaval, inspire more than misty-eyed art; they evoke deep thoughts of inner and outer strength, of perseverance and permanence, of life – and death.  They call to us and we come, spellbound, to their feet – often with the greedy intention of conquering the stoney slopes to sit at the crown, just beneath the sky. As if any man could ever conquer such a creation! We stand atop, having dragged our puny, time-limited bodies towards the stars across terrain we were not meant to step upon, and call to the world that we are conquerors. He who has climbed above others rules the world, he shouts. But does the mighty hill bow down to its master? Does it submit, subjugated to our command? It does not. It never will.   

Mountains are the guide to many meditations in our quest for peace and enlightenment – we raise our vibrations to the heights, we slow our thoughts to resonate with the solid, cold rocks, we diminish the ego in the face of these massive natural creations. We see the peaks reach up towards the heat of the sun with worn fingers and imagine that we can do likewise. We allow our insignificant concerns to billow away on clouds which cover and reveal the summits according to the whims of the breeze.  We wonder at what it has witnessed, the changes it has seen. Does the master meditator need to ascend the mountain to absorb its deep wisdom?   Ask the mountain…it will consider for many lifetimes and reply still in silence: it cares not! And that answer teaches us what we desire to learn. The mountain has long since been there, it is only there and will be nowhere else. Risen by violence, it is the peace that remained. It does not have to struggle and strive.  It has no questions. It has achieved what we seek; the mountain just is. 

Beauty and our inner beast

Natural beauty is disregarded in our world. We favour the plastic, the gaudy, the false. If anything, natural beauty is a disadvantage. It leads to being overrun with tourists or shot.

North Repps, North Norfolk.

Hidden in the comfort of our metal gypsy wagon, I watch a beautiful pair of pheasants pick their way towards me around the sympathetically camouflaged green painted toilets. Stunningly marked, such creatures are better enjoyed thus – still wearing their feathers. It saddens me that this brace, these comrades without arms, are seen as sporting targets by those who seem to have lost touch with the idea of a level playing field. 

Beauty with wings
Beauty with wings

It saddens me to have to accept the guilt-edged suspicion that my enjoyment of wooded copses, stands of peace amongst industrialised fields, relies on the ritual sacrifice of these beautiful birds. 

No sport, no trees? There would be no need to maintain the beautiful little copses which pepper our countryside.

Stand and stare at them one day. Really look! The intricacy of their markings belies belief. Such beauty! And mankind in our civilised way simply sees a plaything – something which cannot hit back. 

In penning the description “comrades without arms“, I had watched the pair walking and pecking gracefully. Only the odd flutter of feather ruffled them as the breeze momentarily disturbed their balance.

I wondered ” how do they manage without arms and hands”.                                                   

It hit me with a smile of embarrassment that the birds, seeing humans, would wonder what we had done to offend God so greatly that He had taken away our wings. 

Maybe God is not a “sportsman” either. He keeps the playing field level. 

Blessings, Trudi

Wild Camping

We had often talked of wild camping. To motorhome owners this is a foray into the savage, untamed wilds of lay-bys or car parks – without electric hookup! It is ridiculed by the macho backpackers who venture into the real wilderness….but hey ho, we can feel as though we are being brave in our metal tent if we are not safely tucked up in a certified, registered site. Yes, we have torches and blankets, gas fuelled cooking and heating, and a toilet….but it is still wild camping because we are not in a snug, numbered bay with a plug in supply of electric!

Ignoring the perils, we turned to the lawless, wild side in Norfolk when we snuck into a little car park along the coast road after dark and parked up. It was quiet …the only wild aspect was the stormy weather…but we felt like naughty school kids and were perversely quite pleased when some early morning twitcher dobbed us in to the warden the next day. He politely reminded us that overnight parking was not encouraged – then chatted about his job and the local wildlife.
Nice guy.
He told us that their main objection was that motorhome owners had emptied their onboard chemical toilets into the grounds and watercourses of the nature reserve. We were slightly ashamed to be considered part of that group and assured him that we would not have even considered such a thing. Disgusting on several levels.
But – wild camping – we don’t think it is for us. We spent much of the day seeking a suitable place to park up and wasted what would have been tourist or walking and exploring time in the locality. We also wasted a lot of diesel and it would probably have been cheaper to have booked a pitch somewhere instead of stealing a piece of a free car park for a few hours.
Crime actually doesn’t pay. It amused us though.
Even travelling without a site booked in advance is fraught with little irritations – we have Google and club handbooks but no-one answers their damn phones so again, we waste time, roaming data and fuel seeking out a place to stop.
The main issue we had with becoming outlaws was using our toilet for…well…you know. It has been the final frontier for us…the step too far.
Until now.
Turning the little radio up as loud as we could, amid much encouragement and mirth, we were brave soldiers. Thus another taboo was broken. We were outlaws of the meanest, baddest kind …the sort who use their onboard loo for number two!!
Don’t mess with us!

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